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Old 03-17-2014, 11:10 AM   #1
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Buying without a broker

I'm getting ready to put an offer in on a boat far away from me and will not be able to complete the transaction in person if my offer is accepted, survey goes well, etc.
I have concerns about wiring funds directly to the the seller until the boat is sitting on the trailer and the driver has all the paperwork in his truck.

Thought about retaining an attorney in the sellers location.

Any suggestions?
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:15 AM   #2
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I have done this before. I guess it really came down to me just Having a good feeling about the seller... And in the end, just have the insurance bound(don't know if that is proper terminology) and if the boat comes up missing, it is insured. I'd imagine someone on here has a more legally protected way?
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:16 AM   #3
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Talk with your banker. He may work a deal with the seller's banker to hold the funds, and wire the money when the deal is complete. I have done this a couple of times. It will depend on the two bankers, and how much trust there is. Both of you would have to be in very good standing with your banks.
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Old 03-17-2014, 11:37 AM   #4
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I'm getting ready to put an offer in on a boat far away from me and will not be able to complete the transaction in person if my offer is accepted, survey goes well, etc. I have concerns about wiring funds directly to the the seller until the boat is sitting on the trailer and the driver has all the paperwork in his truck. Thought about retaining an attorney in the sellers location. Any suggestions?
I used these guys a few years ago:
http://www.firstam.com/news/2000/6018.html

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Old 03-17-2014, 12:33 PM   #5
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I did it at a bank...they received the funds into the account of the seller where the bank's Notary witnessed and signed the USCG bill of sale...at no charge.

Sure I ran the rsk that there may have been a mechanics's lein on it but a search and legal fees et..etc would have either driven costs up too much or killed the deal while we waited for the results..

If you have a good feeling that you could always go after the seller one way or another...then it's all about comfort level.

Did the documentation switch myself so the only fee's were the USCGs.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:45 PM   #6
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Find an escrow/title agent in the seller's location. You might call a borker in the area and ask for a recommendation of a escrow agent. You and seller can agree on the terms of the escrow and release of funds, i.e. all docs fully executed, boat loaded, or whatever. Your money is wired to the escrow agent, escrow agent confirms terms fulfilled, notifies you, and transfers $$ to seller. Much cheaper, and generally just as effective, as using a local attorney.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:47 PM   #7
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Use a marine title company.

This eliminates the risk to either of you.

The title company does not need to be local to either party. They will verify clear title, file your USCG documentation paperwork, and act as a escrow service.

All this for a few hundred dollars.

Cheap peace of mind, and less hassle.
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Old 03-17-2014, 12:57 PM   #8
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not sure a marine title company offers me much piece of mind...this is what I have always heard about boats. I have heard that title insurance is now becoming available...but not inexpensive when factored into buying cheaper boats.

Boat Title & Transaction Information For Buyers - MarineTitle.com


Who guarantees a boat or vessel title? - The words "caveat emptor" represent what is arguably one of the most important concepts you should bear in mind when purchasing a vessel. This Latin phrase, which means "let the buyer beware", is further defined in legal terms as "an axiom or principle in commerce that the buyer alone is responsible for assessing the quality of a purchase before buying". In the marine industry, this is true not only as it pertains to a vessels condition, but also as it relates to the quality its title.
Boat title insurance is not available in the marine industry and it is unlikely that a broker, titling agent, attorney, or any other party would be willing to offer such assurance. This means that buyers must generally rely on the sellers representation regarding the boat's title or lien status. Accordingly, the buyer becomes subject to the sellers good faith in rectifying any title deficiencies that may be encountered subsequent to the closing.
As an offset to these conditions, you should be diligent in gathering as much information as possible about the seller. This way you will know where to turn in the unlikely event there are some hidden liens or title deficiencies which may become evident after the closing. On or before closing, the seller should also be required to execute an explicit title warranty statement regarding any existing liens, encumbrances, or adverse title conditions. An additional precautionary measure would be to hold back a reserve from the purchase funds to deal with any such contingencies. You should of course seek the assistance of an attorney in structuring any mechanisms by which the seller can be held accountable.
It is also prudent to investigate the title's condition as opposed to simply relying on the seller's representations. There are various methods of doing this depending on whether the vessel is documented with the Coast Guard, state titled, or foreign registered. Information, guidelines, and resources for researching vessel titles on the federal, state, and foreign levels is available from our web site.
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Old 03-17-2014, 01:26 PM   #9
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Use a marine title company.

This eliminates the risk to either of you.

The title company does not need to be local to either party. They will verify clear title, file your USCG documentation paperwork, and act as a escrow service.

All this for a few hundred dollars.

Cheap peace of mind, and less hassle.
We did this when we bought Hobo. Call Norm Havercroft at Marine Documentation Services Inc. (360) 299-3272. Anacortes, WA. We were out of state.
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Old 03-17-2014, 02:23 PM   #10
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We did this when we bought Hobo. Call Norm Havercroft at Marine Documentation Services Inc. (360) 299-3272. Anacortes, WA. We were out of state.
I have used them as well, twice.

Great people, excellent service, fair prices.
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:43 AM   #11
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Thanks for all your ideas :-)
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Old 03-18-2014, 06:21 AM   #12
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As others have said, use a marine title firm. I can highly recommend these people, based in Seattle.
Pacific Maritime Title

You say the boat is far away, but everything is relative. If its in the USA or Canada then its pretty close to you, really. I was in Australia when I bought my boat in Washington. And I simply cant imagine not being there in person when it counts. I would encourage you to find a way to be there either at survey or settlement, or both. Some travel costs are better then regret.
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Old 03-18-2014, 09:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by capt.George View Post
I'm getting ready to put an offer in on a boat far away from me and will not be able to complete the transaction in person if my offer is accepted, survey goes well, etc.
I have concerns about wiring funds directly to the the seller until the boat is sitting on the trailer and the driver has all the paperwork in his truck.

Thought about retaining an attorney in the sellers location.

Any suggestions?
Attorney, Title company. Personal Representation. All possibilities. But, really this reverts back to your initial statement "Will not be able to complete the transaction in person." Obviously we don't know what "far away" is, but I can't imagine not completing such a transaction in person and the further away actually the more I'd make sure I did because then you're dealing with different banking systems, cultures, etc.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:23 AM   #14
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We did this when we bought Hobo. Call Norm Havercroft at Marine Documentation Services Inc. (360) 299-3272. Anacortes, WA. We were out of state.
We just used them three months ago and they made the process easy. They handled USGC docs, state registration, even the dingy registration, as well as escrow holding. All for a couple hundred bucks. Great staff.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:40 AM   #15
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The bigger question is who is going to be your eyes and ears for this transaction if you can't see the boat yourself? If you don't have a trusted friend or relative, I'd suggest hiring a broker to represent you. Will an attorney know which surveyor to suggest, or which engine mechanic for the engine survey. Will they look at the boat to tell you what it looks like in person? Will they be able to take the helm for the sea trial and if they do all of this will it be for less than a broker. A buyer's representative splits any commission with the selling agent so if there is a broker involved with the seller, your broker won't cost you any additional expense. Me, I'd be hesitant to buy a boat without someone I knew and trusted looking at it and telling me what they saw.
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Old 03-18-2014, 05:07 PM   #16
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The bigger question is who is going to be your eyes and ears for this transaction if you can't see the boat yourself? If you don't have a trusted friend or relative, I'd suggest hiring a broker to represent you. Will an attorney know which surveyor to suggest, or which engine mechanic for the engine survey. Will they look at the boat to tell you what it looks like in person? Will they be able to take the helm for the sea trial and if they do all of this will it be for less than a broker. A buyer's representative splits any commission with the selling agent so if there is a broker involved with the seller, your broker won't cost you any additional expense. Me, I'd be hesitant to buy a boat without someone I knew and trusted looking at it and telling me what they saw.
IMG2, I do have the original surveyor who watched the boat during her entire construction as well as the original builder. This is a one -off high tech custom woodenboat of which I personally have a lot of knowledge and experience with so I'm comfortable on that end. Just don't like sending those big checks out without some back-up :-)
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:07 PM   #17
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IMG2, I do have the original surveyor who watched the boat during her entire construction as well as the original builder. This is a one -off high tech custom woodenboat of which I personally have a lot of knowledge and experience with so I'm comfortable on that end. Just don't like sending those big checks out without some back-up :-)
Then engage the surveyor to act as your agent if you trust him. They keys and title and such have to be turned over to someone. Send him the check, let him exchange for signed documents, keys, etc. Still, if it was me, I'd fly over even if only for a day, but it's obviously your choice.
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:35 PM   #18
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You could also hire a "buyers broker" local to the boat to handle the exchange for you. If you find a reputable one, he'd be better than the surveyor as the brokers deal with this stuff all the time and are familiar with the paperwork/escrow/liens etc. As a surveyor I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole ... not my area of expertise.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:16 PM   #19
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Where is the boat located? Throw a broker a bone to take care of it for you, it's worth it. Search some of the past threads to see what can go wrong. PM if you need advise, etc.
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